James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Pierce Butler, 17 June 1795

From Pierce Butler

Philada. June the 17th. 1795.

Dear Sir

My letter of last week coverd a small part of the Treaty; I now inclose a few more of the Articles. Yesterday Mr. King, after a labourd Apology for the Conduct of the Envoy, with respect to the 12th. Article, proposed to leave that Article for future Negociation with Britain; hoping that Senate woud Agree to all the other Articles.1 He was seconded by Mr. Elsworth. For the first time that I spoke on the Treaty, I opposed generaly, the idea of geting a Committment of Senate before We had read One half of the Articles. The Debate on this subject Closed the business of Yesterday; And this day I suppose it will be renewd. You, who know Characters, will not be surprised at any insidious Attempts to Draw Senate into a Committmen⟨t.⟩ Yet I much fear they will succeed, and get two ⟨thirds⟩ to Adopt all the Articles except the 12th. ⟨a⟩nd recommend to the Executive to keep ⟨up the⟩ Negociation, in order to obtain a modification of that Article. Mr. Randolph expressd to me a wish that the Treaty, in toto, might be Adopted. Believing Him to be a good Man in private life, I regret that He is so much the tool of party. A late Arrival at New York brings information of a prospect of peace between France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Sardenia and the Provinces: leaving Britain single to Contend with the French. The French Minister is in Town. I have not seen Him.

I understand the Post goes but once a week so far southerly as Fredericksburgh. I remain with very great Esteem and regard Dear Sir, Yr. Most Obedt. Servant

P Butler

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); enclosure (DLC). RC docketed by JM. Butler enclosed further installments of the Jay treaty (see Butler to JM, 12 June 1795, and n. 2).

1Butler was probably alluding to a motion, made on 16 June, to refer article 12 to “future discussion of the Senate,” after which the Senate began consideration of article 13. On 17 June the Senate read the remaining articles and Rufus King moved that the treaty be ratified, subject to the suspension of article 12 and the recommendation that the president reopen negotiations on the West Indian trade (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:182). On King’s responsibility for the motion of 17 June, see the enclosure in Butler to JM, 26 June 1795.

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